When Insecurity Is Good for Your Bank Account

In our culture of self-care and wellness, we usually find ourselves wishing away bad feelings when they come around. We'll work hard (and spend hard) to banish those moods, because the world is terrible and we deserve to feel good. However, there's a lot of evidence that letting those feelings happen can benefit us in ways we usually overlook. One surprisingly profitable emotion is actually insecurity.

Researchers in Israel and Hong Kong have just published a study looking at self-image and how it relates to our saving habits. That correlation isn't totally out of left field. When we're feeling anxious about our self-image and how we fit into the wider world, we self-soothe by squirreling away funds. It's one way we can comfort ourselves about an emergency in the future — or just a better life.

Feelings have a distinct place in our financial lives. Nostalgia, for instance, is also a driver of saving habits. Emotional intelligence plays a huge role in how our careers progress. Confronting your insecurities has knock-on benefits: Thinking about mistakes can actually lower stress if you're mindful about the process. Rather than smothering your discomfort in retail therapy or other forms of denial, feeling your feelings can help you understand what's tripping you up and ultimately help you course-correct.

Understanding your insecurity and other uncomfortable feelings isn't all about gut instinct — you need data and rationality too — but you'll gain something by paying attention to them, even if it's just more cash in your savings account.